I love this book on language-learning, How to Learn Any Language Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably, and on your Own, by Barry Farber, because of its basic philosophy and practical tips. The philosophy is to think like a language-learner. While textbooks and classes teach you how to think in the language, thinking about the language is important.
When I think about language-learning, I see a world filled with teachers. Google Translate, the riders on the bus, the grocery store no longer serve a simple function, but dangle ripe fruit in front of me. When I think as a language-learner, I see the Korean kids on campus and ask myself, “Now, why don’t I know how to say ‘hello’ in Korean”? When my Persian office-mate comes in the office, my heart races and I get distracted from the task at hand. “Quick! What words are on my vocab list that I couldn’t find!” I think that Farber’s book inspires this kind of thinking in the reader.
Farber’s practical tips teach me simple, daily things I can do in my life to keep on track with my language. I print out an article from the internet, find words I don’t know, look up the words in the dictionary, and write the words on my 3×5 cards. Now I can refresh my memory while my kids are looking for their shoes, Windows is deciding to boot, and my food is heating in the microwave. He also offers good tips to think about vocabulary so that it sticks in the head. Anyone who feels he or she doesn’t have time to learn a language should pay close attention to these tips.
This is the second time I’ve read this book. I found tips that had completely escaped me the first time, others I had poo-pooed but now find useful, and some that kept me inspired. Even better, he writes like a New York newspaper man of the 1940s (which he is), and so the books keeps moving along.
- tips on learning a language (theworldyme.wordpress.com)
- What every language learner should know. part 1 (lovinglanguage.wordpress.com)